Back-arc basin

Submarine features associated with island arcs and subduction zones / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A back-arc basin is a type of geologic basin, found at some convergent plate boundaries. Presently all back-arc basins are submarine features associated with island arcs and subduction zones, with many found in the western Pacific Ocean. Most of them result from tensional forces, caused by a process known as oceanic trench rollback, where a subduction zone moves towards the subducting plate.[1] Back-arc basins were initially an unexpected phenomenon in plate tectonics, as convergent boundaries were expected to universally be zones of compression. However, in 1970, Dan Karig published a model of back-arc basins consistent with plate tectonics.[2]

Cross-section sketch showing the development of a back-arc basin by rifting the arc longitudinally. The rift matures to the point of seafloor spreading, allowing a new magmatic arc to form on the trenchward side of the basin (to the right in this image) and stranding a remnant arc on the far side of the basin (to the left in this image).
Cross-section through the shallow part of a subduction zone showing the relative positions of an active magmatic arc and back-arc basin, such as the southern part of the Izu–Bonin–Mariana Arc.